Rise of the Machines

Posted on September 30th, 2013


My computer had a right little tizzy at the weekend. My macbook wouldn’t reach the login screen, making it somewhat difficult to access ANYTHING. Luckily, Apple have a special Recovery partition already factored into their computers, making reinstalling the OS without losing any of the files on the hard drive a relatively painless (if somewhat tedious process). I like that it has this function, I don’t like ever having to fucking use it. But my machine appears to be saved (for now).

But the most unbearable thing about the whole experience was how it nearly caused me to have a nervous breakdown, even though it was, in the general scheme of things, a relatively minor incident. I’d already backed up my files and done a Time Machine backup earlier in the week, so I would have only been losing incredibly minor files and game saves, but I couldn’t bear the thought of this.I couldn’t bear that I’d lost my personal connection to The Stream of power that is the internet.

Because I’m such a generic male in his 20s, one of my favourite films is Terminator 2. In particular, I have much love for the opening sequence, which depicts the all-out total war in the future between man and machine, leaving humanity to live amongst the rubble.

Look at it. It’s so… terrifying. The machines sending out their skeletal warriors to stomp on our puny asses of flesh and bone. Their flying machines bombing our living matter from on high. The message is clear: when the machines learn to build themselves, they will crush us under their metallic feet.

But here’s the thing: the machines don’t need to resort to all-out armageddon. They’ve already won. They’ve assimilated us. We bow down at their altar. They’ve become our dæmons, our souls carried around in our pockets with touch screens. They’ve become embedded into our psyche. Because we think we’re fucked without them, we are fucked without them.

Look, there’s no denying that technology has made our life better, simpler, more efficient. But when your machine breaks down you realise just how reliant on it you are. Hell, you realise how defined by it you are. It’s more than enough to send a man into a romantic Walden-style fantasy. But if I did that, would I be allowed to tweet about it or would that violate the rules of the experiment? And how would I keep up with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Or would I spend all my time in my log-cabin playing Angry Birds?

Bow down before your new masters.